“How Can I Eliminate Wait Times and Print Waste?”

What is Follow-Me Printing?

Follow-Me Printing, also known as “pull printing” is a business workflow that allows users to securely release their print job from any available connected copier. This works by sending print jobs into a “cloud” instead of automatically printing. In medium and large-sized organizations, it is one of the most vital and important solutions to help reduce costs and eliminate bottlenecks.

Traditional Office Printing

Multifunction copiers became so popular in an office environment because they consolidated the dozens of inkjet printers, fax machines and scanners into more cost-effective and centralized “all-in-one” devices. But having employees print to a shared copier now created two problems:

1. Employees had to physically walk up to a centralized copier to retrieve their print job. Every time someone forgets to pick up their print job, paper is wasted and toner is wasted. It costs $0.01 to $0.02 for every paged printed in black (and even more for colour). Print waste can quickly add up to wasted dollars.

2. Sharing a copier meant that there could be productivity bottlenecks. If the copier is in use, you have to wait your turn to make a copy or pick up your print job. The more time people spend waiting in line for the copier, the less work they can accomplish.

Follow-Me Printing solves both of these problems by sending print jobs into a “cloud.” Users simply walk up to any available copier, securely login using a PIN code or swipe card and securely release their print job. Because employees are forced to release their job at the copier, documents are always picked up, ensuring no wasted paper and no wasted money.

Is the copier nearest to your desk occupied by someone printing a 100-page document? Follow-Me Printing allows you to walk up to the next available copier, log in, and release your job from there. Your print job “follows-you” wherever you go, ensuring that an occupied copier does not slow down your productivity.

Follow-Me Printing Software Solutions

There are several proprietary and 3rd party follow-me printing software solutions available. We will share with you our two favourite and why:

Advanced Anywhere Print: Canon’s proprietary “AA-Print” software is a basic follow-me printing solution that connects Canon copiers together. Unlike most Follow-Me Printing solutions, AA-Print is serverless. Print jobs are temporarily stored on a Canon copier’s hard drive until released from an available Canon copier. Because AA-Print is serverless, it is an extremely low-cost investment, boasting an immediate return. AA-Print offers additional features such as tracking, accounting and reporting to help monitor staff printing.

PaperCut: PaperCut is one of the largest and most popular 3rd party Follow-Me Printing solutions in the world because it complies with every brand of copier available. This means that organizations using mixed brands (Canon, Ricoh, Xerox, HP, Konica Minolta, etc.) can take advantage of PaperCut without fearing non-functionality with one of their copiers. The true value in PaperCut is that it also enforces rules-based printing. This means that administrators can force settings such as Default Black or 2-Sided. Savvy IT people can even write custom code, such as forcing print jobs over a certain amount of pages to be re-routed to the lowest cost copier. Administrators can track and monitor employee printing, assign monthly print quotas, and even create reports to display how much carbon waste they’ve reduced compared to previous months. Unlike AA-Print, PaperCut requires a server to operate.

It’s All About Workflow

The buzzword in the copier industry is “workflow.” Improving business processes allows an organization to operate more efficiently, eliminating wasted time and resources. Even though it is dinosaur technology, photocopiers will be around for a very long time. The convenience of paper documents is just too valuable. But just because the technology is old doesn’t mean companies shouldn’t adapt and change to improve how office printing is done.

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